Day At The Track

Billinger brothers back worthy cause

09:15 AM 25 Sep 2020 NZST
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Darren and Mark Billinger in the Prostate Cancer Month colors,Harness racing
Darren and Mark Billinger in the Prostate Cancer Month colors

Champion South Australian harness racing brothers Darren and Mark Billinger are racking up the miles for a great cause - and have put out the call to industry participants to quickly get on board.

The pair have been wearing the Prostate Cancer colors during September as part of harness racing's drive to build awareness about the disease which kills more than 3000 Australian men each year.

As Prostate Cancer Awareness Month ambassadors, the brothers' roles include stressing the importance for men over 50 to take regular medical check-ups as the best method of early detection of prostate cancer.

"As drivers, there's no way of avoiding the annual check-up, because we have to pass the medical tests annually to get our licences renewed," Mark said.

"But even then, it's worth checking with your GP about any extra check-ups you might need as the years go on. This is something I'll certainly be doing in the future," he said.

Statistics show that prostate cancer kills more than 50 men each week in Australia with more than 16,000 new cases recorded annually.

As well as awareness, a key focus of Prostate Cancer Month is to raise funds for research and to assist men and families impacted by the disease and HRSA and SA Botra have joined forces to support the cause.

A call went out for people to sponsor the Billingers by pledging an amount for every kilometre they drive in races during the month. In the previous three months, Darren averaged 23 kilometres in race drives, while Mark, a top freelancer in his home state, averaged 62 kilometres.

"There have been a few things happening to get people on board, but there's only a week or so left, so we're wanting to encourage the harness racing family to get involved by making donations to the cause," Mark said.

"COVID's made it tough and we only race probably twice a week, but we've been doing our best. I've been getting a few drives from my regular trainers, but Darren's been a bit light on," Mark said.

So far, Mark has "travelled" over 16 kms during which time he's collected six wins from 20 driving engagements. Darren has done 6.7kms for one win from eight drives.

All donations over $2 are tax deductible and can remain anonymous if requested. South Australian people have been asked to click onto www.mycause.com.au. Other donations can be made at https://www.pcfa.org.au/

 

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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